Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu in English: Meaning & Pronunciation Explained

Wondering what “Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu” means?

Well, wonder no more.

This quick guide will help you understand the meaning and the nuances of this phrase. There are a bunch, depending on the context.

  • よろしくお願いします
    • Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu
    • Translation: Please be good to me/please treat me well, however meaning can vary by situation.
  • Pronunciation: Yorosh-ku Onegai-shimas
    • Audio pronunciation – press play

Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu Meaning

There are a few ways to define this phrase… depending on the context.

If you want quick answers, the “interpreted” meaning can range from…

  • Nice to meet you/please treat me well (when meeting a person for the first time)
  • I look forward to working with you all (in a group work environment like at work or school)
  • Thank you in advance/please take care of this (when making a request)
  • But the #1 thing to remember is that this phrase is a request/call to action.

First, let’s define what each part of the phrase means. 

“Yoroshiku” can be translated to “best regards” or “take care.”  It comes from the adjective “yoi” or “ii,” meaning “good,” and the more polite version, “yoroshii.”  When you drop one “i” and add a “ku,” it becomes an adverb “well.” (source: Japanese adverbs)

It can also be translated to “take care of this” depending on the context that is used. 

For instance, レポート宜しく(repooto yoroshiku) is translated to “take care of the report”, but 宜しくお伝えください(yoroshiku otsutae kudasai) is translated to “Please give them my regards.”

Onegaishimasu can be translated to “please” or “please take care of this.”

Onegaishimasu is commonly added after the person asks something to add politeness to the sentence. 

For example, it can be added to the end of the first example sentence above, レポート宜しくお願いします(repooto yoroshiku onegaishimasu).  That sentence is translated to “Please take care of the report.”

Put these “yoroshiku” and “onegaishimasu” together, and literally yoroshiku onegaishimasu in english is… “please treat me well,” or “do well please.”

Douzo Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu

By, the way, there’s also a “douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu” which is one word longer.

Longer means more polite in Japanese. So, “douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu” mean the same exact thing as “yoroshiku onegaishimasu,” with just a higher level of formality.

So, now you kind of know how the phrase works…

How Japanese People Use this Phrase

As you already know, it’s one thing to learn the definition…

And it’s another thing to actually understand real life uses.

So, let’s look at some common uses and examples, and explore how the phrase is commonly used by Japanese people. 

A) Saying “nice to meet you.”

As I have said above, “onegaishimasu” makes the phrase formal, so it is used most often in a professional setting or when you are addressing someone that you have just met.  For instance, when you are introduced to someone, people commonly say “yoroshiku onegaishimasu.”  The translation here is “nice to meet you”, but a more literal translation will be “please be kind to me.” 

B) Making requests

Another example is if somebody is about to work for you such as they are about to retile your bathroom, you can say “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” to mean “please take care of it, thank you.”

Or, you will often hear this at work when asking someone to take care of thing. Kind of like mentioned above.

  • レポート宜しくお願いします(repooto yoroshiku onegaishimasu).
    • Please take care of this report.

Another way of looking this phrase would be “thank you in advance,” since you are making are a request.

C) In a group setting

In a group setting where you’re going to work with others – whether at work, school, or elsewhere –  you can say this phrase to mean… “Let’s work hard together” or “I look forward to working with you all.” Obviously, for a new person entering a group, the meaning would steer more towards the latter.

If you’ve done any online gaming, you’ll hear Japanese players say this when they enter/join.

D)  Ending Business Emails

You’ll see this at the end of business emails, right before they sign off their name.

Why Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu Is Confusing for Learners

Like many Japanese phrases, this phrase may be confusing to learners because…

First, there’s the literal meaning, “please be good to me,” and the actual usage… and the difference tends to confuse learners who go by the literal meaning first.

There are also many ways “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” can be used depending on the context. 

For example, Japanese people can say “yoroshiku” to someone they know.  If someone just says “yoroshiku”, we can infer that the context is in an informal setting, such as a friend asking for a favor. 

However, if someone is saying “yoroshiku onegaishimasu”, the inference changes to a context that is more formal, such as asking a stranger (such as a server at a restaurant) for something. 

Also, although there are formal / business ways English can be spoken in, it is not to the level of how Japanese people use different version of words when speaking formally. 

It gets even more confusing when you think about the different ways the phrase can be used in different contexts.

You might be scratching your head even more but there’s one thing you need to know.

Key takeaway: One thing a learner should remember is that the phrase is used for something that is yet to happen.  In every context, we are asking for action that has yet to happen.

Extra Examples

Finally, I will give you several examples of conversation that the phrase can be used in.

  • Yoshida – 初めまして、吉田です。 (Hajimemashite, Yoshida desu)
  • Jim – 初めまして、ジムです。 宜しくお願いします。(Hajimemashite, Jim desu.  Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.)
  • Yoshida – こちらこそ、宜しくお願いします。 (kochirakoso yoroshiku onegaishimasu.)
    • Yoshida – First time meeting, my name is Yoshida
    • Jim – First time meeting, my name is Jim.  Nice to meet you
    • Yoshida – It is nice to meet you as well.

The translation is straight forward in this example.  They used “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” to mean “nice to meet you.”  

We can also, infer that the relationship between the two are a professional one.

Here is an example in the case of talking to a superior.

  • Coach – 皆さん準備は出来ましたか? (Minasann junnbi wa dekimashitaka ?)
  • Students – ハイ!今日もよろしくお願いします! (Hai!  Kyoumo yoroshiku onegaishimasu!)
    • Coach – Everybody, are you ready to begin?
    • Students – Yes! As usual, please train us today!

In this context, the students are respectfully asking the coach to give them another day of training.

In Japan, people are taught to use formal language when addressing someone that is a higher position than them (such as a coach), so that is the reason the students are saying “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” as opposed to just “yoroshiku.” 

Next, let’s see how the phrase can be used in the context of a restaurant. 

  • Server – ご注文はお決まりですか? (Gochuumonn wa okimaridesuka?)
  • Customer – ハイ、アイスコーヒーお願いします。 (Hai, aisu kouhii onegaishimasu)
  • Server – かしこまりました。 (Kashikomarimashita)
  • Customer – 宜しくお願いします。(Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu)
    • Server – Have you decided what you would like to order?
    • Customer – Yes, ice coffee please.
    • Server – I understand.
    • Customer – Please take care of it, thank you.

In this context, we used both “onegaishimasu” and “yoroshiku onegaishimasu.”  

When asking for the ice coffee, the customer said “onegaishimasu”.  This is a polite way to ask for something.  At the end the customer says, “yoroshiku onegaishimasu.”  This is a polite way to end the conversation.  Even though the translation is “please take care of it”, in this context the connotation behind the phrase is more a simple “thank you.”

As we explored, there are many ways to use the phrase, but always remember that it is a polite call to action.

– The Main Junkie


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